The House with the Bright Locked Door



We once called it guilt                 nameless morning


green ease summoning                     shirred-off light



disputes over                   who weighed flag’s forty stars


who cleaned the chimney                       who hosted



this heart best                this heart’s beast           sheer ice


flitters at eaves      calves away              ephemeral



oaks ask have you tried hard                   grafted branches


constantly forgetting                   wind’s accidental



pressure in lark-leaf space                      between drips


of winter-worn roof                        our neighbor’s



always clearer than ours                          you wash


hands’ backs                          this day                    refuse adornment



weightless         blue taffeta cloth           claim sky’s


ours as we invisibly                    age toward invisible



every year we try not to tally                   and fail


who’s had time for thought                        silence gifted



today                  swallowed tomorrow                  cumulus


stops up all argument                                ash leaves



refuse to tremble                         we know their reasons


as we know this day’s edges                          aren’t ours

Rebecca Givens Rolland won the Dana Award in Short Fiction, and her fiction has appeared in Slice, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, and others. Her first book, The Wreck of Birds, won the May Sarton New Hampshire First Book Prize and was published by Bauhan Publishing.